Raquel Rodriguez, a senior forward/midfielder from Penn State University, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for soccer today as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 40 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Rodriguez becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2016 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on June 27, 2016, in the Founders’ Room at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los, Angeles.
Rodriguez was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Kadeisha Buchanan (West Virginia), Rachel Daly (St. John’s) and Emily Sonnett (Virginia).
“Well first of all, to me it is overwhelming, “stated Rodriguez. “Being aware of the many, many great soccer players there are in the NCAA and knowing that I won this award is a huge honor.”
“I am very honored to represent Penn State and I also understand this wouldn’t happen without the help of so many people and among those people it is my teammates, my coaching staff, my friends and my family that have been with me from the start. I know it wouldn’t be possible without them and their help, so I know this award represents so much more than just myself.”
Rodriguez, hailing from San Jose, Costa Rica, is a 2015 MAC Hermann trophy finalist and led her team to the 2015 National Championship title, the first in program history. She scored the game-winning goal in the title game and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Offensive Player. She is a first-team NSCAA All-American and a two-time All-Big Ten first-team member.
The team captain finished the 2015 season with 18 points on six goals and six assists and has posted 23 career goals including nine career game-winning goals.
A member of the Costa Rican National team, she is the first Nittany Lion to score a goal in a World Cup.
“Raquel Rodriguez is one of the finest student-athletes to ever be a part of our program and therefore it is fitting that she would be recognized with the highest honor a female student-athlete can receive,” said head coach Erica Walsh. “She epitomizes all that is right with college sports and is a wonderful representative of her family, country and Penn State University.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year. Three Honda Sports Awards winners for soccer have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup, Christine Sinclair (2006), Cindy Daws (1997) and Mia Hamm (1994).
The CWSA, celebrating its 40th year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship thirty years ago in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.